Physical Activity and Diet

As well as dietary changes it is important that you increase your energy expenditure by building activity into your everyday life and taking time for being more active, such as a walk during your lunch break.

Keeping Active: How to burn 200 calories

ActivityDuration (minutes)
Swimming 22-25
Cycling (moderate, 7.5 mph)28-33
Walking, 5mph 30-35
This shows you the number of calories you burn for 20 minutes participation in different exercises. We should all aim to take 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. This can be a mixture of all types of physical activity, anything that makes you slightly out of breath, makes you feel warmer and raises your heart rate slightly. Increasing your activity levels does not mean having to go to the gym or doing exercise that you do not enjoy. That will not be sustainable in the long term. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift/escalator, making your housework into a work out, parking further away at the supermarket or getting off the bus a stop earlier. Of course, you also have your MBT’s and flexi-bar exercises. Why do we need to exercise? Reduces risk of heart disease Reduces risk of high blood pressure Decreases resting heart rate-less work for the heart Increases bone density Reduces risk osteoporosis Improves strength and stamina Increases co-ordination and balance Improves flexibility Improves respiration Helps to prevent constipation Helps control weight Improves sense of well-being and reduces stress Exercises which use oxygen, aerobic, are those which improve cardiovascular fitness. If you don’t use your muscles they will shrink. Muscular tissues use more energy/calories than inactive tissue. It is important to set yourself SMART goals, building up the frequency, intensity and duration at a pace that suits you.

Current recommendations

  • For general health benefits, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days of the week.
This 30mins can be done all in one go or in several shorter bouts (e.g. 2 x 15mins) It is likely that for many people, 45-60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day is necessary to prevent obesity. Talk-test: if you can talk very easily, you are not walking briskly enough. If you can talk but you feel warm and are breathing more heavily than normal, you are walking at about the right pace. If you can’t talk, then you need to slow done. On its own, increased physical activity results in only modest changes in weight, averaging 0.5 to 1 kg loss each month. Walking an extra 2000 steps per day increases energy expenditure by 100 calories. Physical activity should be combined with a calorie-controlled diet to achieve significant weight loss. Diet alone is also not enough.

Why don’t we achieve exercise recommendations?

What are your barriers to being more active? Time, money, all-or-nothing approach, don’t enjoy it, not convenient, hard to fit into lifestyle? Don’t be tempted to take up an exercise just because it is good for you, you have to enjoy it otherwise it will become a chore. Try being more active with friends/ your children or why not join a class or club.